Even the most brilliant performing artists rely on technicians in order to prepare for the show – whether it’s backstage or off screen, rarely do we think of what intensive preparations go on behind the scenes to make the show a success. This also true of the daredevils who perform death-defying feats for the public, where its most often a matter of life or death to get the details exactly correct.

Case in point – Nik Wallenda, representing the seventh generation of the “Flying Wallendas,” a family famous for walking tightropes under the most extreme and dangerous conditions. In recent years, Nik has astounded the world by walking across Niagara Falls and the Grand Canyon. Most recently, Nik did two walks between Chicago skyscrapers on a high wire the width of a nickel, nearly six hundred feet above the ground in 30 mile-per-hour winds, partially blindfolded, on an ascending angle and without a tether.

Nik Wallenda set two world records on that November evening – and the technicians he called upon with complete confidence were the union electrical workers of IBEW Local 1249 working for Contractor O’Connell Electric.

O’Connell Electric Preparing Nik Wallanda’s Chicago Wirewalk

It was in fact IBEW Local 1249 in upstate New York that recommended O’Connell Electric when Wallenda was seeking a firm that had the expertise and experience to install the wires upon which he would be walking. Based in Rochester, O’Connell Electric has been around for over a century, and like the Wallendas, their workers and engineers are no stranger when it comes to taking on challenging, difficult and even dangerous projects. Part of what won Nik’s confidence initially was O’Connell’s long history of reliability. Another factor is the rigorous training that members of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers go through and the high standards they are required to meet.

Even dealing with seemingly mundane issues such as difficult to access locations, insurance and crossing international borders didn’t phase them.

Following his successful traverse of Niagara Falls, Nik was so impressed with O’Connell that he decided to have the company do the preparations for his Grand Canyon walk. It has proven to be a fruitful and productive relationship. While Nik has yet to decide what will be following his historic Chicago high wire walk, it’s a good bet that when he does, he’ll be calling on the IBEW team at O’Connell Electric to string the cable and make certain everything goes according to plan.

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